Blaster Master Zero is a successful remake
The Blaster Master name has been brought up to me through many different podcasts but I never took the time to check it out till now. Inti Creates has crafted a remake of the first game while adding new elements that make it a better game. Even though this looks like it could be a prequel it is indeed a remake since the story picks up with Jason going after Fred. He isn’t able to locate him but he does get his hands on the Sophia III which is a crazy jumping tank. So he sets off to blast his way through the ruins of Earth to find Fred. Updated 16 bit like cutscenes make the storyline flow better and look nice too.
Two different gameplay styles make up the main bulk of anyone's playtime in this game. The first is when the player is controlling Sophia III. It plays like a standard side-scrolling platformer. You might not think a tank is a very good choice for a platformer but it has very precise controls. Plus as the game goes along Jason will start to accrue power-ups that let the tank get to new areas. Giving the game a bit of a Metroidvania feel but since the maps tell you where everything is it doesn’t really reward exploration often. As an example, one of the power-ups lets the tank hover so you could use it to dodge attacks from enemies or use it to glide to an unreachable area.
The other gameplay style is a bit basic compared to the first one. When the tank can’t fit into an area Jason must go in with only his space suit. Turning the game into a top-down shooter. The goal is still to make it through a variety of rooms full of enemies to gain extra power or items. His main weapon can be powered up to do different kinds of plasma blasts. His normal shot barely goes a few pixels away from him but fully powered up it’ll split into three shots that zigzag across the screen. He also has access to side weapons that are limited but can aid him in different ways. The first is a standard grenade that can hit multiple enemies while the final one creates a barrage attack that will wipe out anything standing in the room.
Both of these styles have their pros and cons. The first is really fun whenever the player inside the tank since it has great maneuverability. While the moments it requires Jason to get out of the tank just slow things down to a halt since it felt like almost every time I got out it required him to crawl very slowly through a crawlspace. The top-down sections have a nice balance that makes them not overly hard. While once again the speed of the movement is less than perfect. So yeah some parts of the game do feel a bit slow. I don’t think it much away from my enjoyment of the game but it is certainly something I kept thinking about while I played through the game.
Overall this is a good remake that I enjoyed. Between the colorful visuals and the snappiness of the controls, this was and still remains an awesome experience.